tv America Live FOX News November 14, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm PST
phone. so he made her do a second day. she was seen quietly standing with her sign. rick: only an idiot would smoke and talk on her cell phone with her sign. thank you for joining us, everybody. jenna: "america live" starts right now. megyn: for the first time in more than eight months, president obama goes face-to-face with the white house press corps one week after he was elected to the presidency. welcome to "america live." i am megyn kelly. in less than 30 minutes, president obama will hold his first solo news conference since march 6. in that time from our nation has grappled with a number of major events, including the deaths of four americans in a terror attack on 9/11 this year. among those killed, the u.s. ambassador. the first time in austin ambassador to murder and 33 years. the deficit also topped
$1 trillion for the fourth straight year. david petreaus resigned just last week amid a scandal. lots of important issues to ask the president about. ed henry is live on the north lawn. this white house really wants to focus on economic issues. also, the fiscal cliff in this news conference. there is going to be a lot of topics on the docket today. reporter: that is right, megyn. it has been months since they held one. they want to talk about a whole range of other topics at the medium may want to bring up and might be bubbling up. the tradition is that you have this postelection news conference a little quicker than the president has after you are reelected. as we saw with bill clinton and george w. bush. in this case from the white house timing is better for them to do it this week because of the fiscal cliff coming together now and because of congress coming back in session this week. maybe he can grab congress' attention and talk about the
fiscal cliff. but let's face it. iran, syria, what's happening on the ground there, benghazi, the terrorist attacks. this will be the first conference since then. then you add in general david petreaus and his scandal. the fact that he was set to testify on the benghazi situation right before he stepped down. he is likely to testify on capitol hill later this week. paula broadwell, her role in this -- she gave a speech at the university of denver where she suggested that maybe the real target of this terror attack was the fact that the cia was allegedly holding libyan militants near the consulate. that is being repeatedly denied by the cia. so many questions to probe. when you have a president who has not had a full-scale news conference since march, a lot of pent-up demand to ask about these things he took some
questions in august in mexico, also back in june and july when he was attending a summit. he has not had a full-scale press conference since march. that's a long time. megyn: i think it will be educational to the viewers. as we watch this press conference, it's frustrating for the viewers because they have subjects they wanted your answers to. they may or may not get their topics addressed. it's completely up to the president how far he goes, whether he stays up front with the associated press or keeps on moving back -- we have any idea how long this will be or how much time he will get? reporter: typically it will go for about an hour. what happens is usually goes for about 10 minutes, he talks about what he wants to talk about. it will probably be about the fiscal cliff and working with congress. that leaves 45 or 50 minutes to take questions. he goes a little bit longer with his answers unlike previous presidents. so that means you get less questions in. the president does decide who he
calls on and how long his answers are going to be. to see whether or not the clock runs out. so he has to followed list that he has in front of him, and he goes as quick or as slowly as he cares to do. megyn: how does that work? he seems to be moving beyond -- how do you get his attention? reporter: you try to get his attention and raise your hand, even if you're not on the list. making eyes and the president's direction. so it was sort of a story that i had with the president is making eyes at the president on time and they didn't call on me. megyn: thank you, we will be
watching. okay, as he mentioned, we learned a few hours ago that the former cia director, david petreaus, has voluntarily agreed to speak with lawmakers about this terror attack in benghazi that took the lives of four americans. general david petreaus visited libya last month in a classified trip, examining what is left now of the cia presence there. he personally question the cia station chief in tripoli. and the other cia personnel who were in benghazi when the attack occurred. this trip was intended to help him prepare for his upcoming testimony by congress. the report, we are told, is not completed and has not been forwarded to congress yet. that is one of the many reasons congress and lawmakers want to talk to him. all this happened before the cia director designed at the end of last week. chris stirewalt is with me now.
i want to ask you, what are the stakes are this president as he goes into this first press conference after eight months? reporter: let's put it into perspective. he just got reelected. he will be president for four more years. compared to some of the things, like the debate, the stakes are not that high. he will have a lot to ask about and a lot to answer for. first of all, and we shouldn't diminish it, the fiscal cliff -- this affects the whole economy of this country going forward. one of the big questions is going to be that republicans are saying we don't want to see any rate increase, we just want to see revenues through closing loopholes, top administration officials, including secretary tim geithner, he says we want to see rates increase for upper income people. we will see where the president comes down with that. that will be a big issue. on friday, he will meet with congressional leaders. also, if he's willing to put on the table what he did in august
of 2011. that is major cuts to entitlement, social security, medicare. and of course, questions about benghazi. he has never fully accounted about the warnings beforehand. you know, did he know that there were all these warnings about security, lack of security in benghazi at the consulate in august. that is a month before the attack. of course, david petreaus -- when did he hear about it? and if he did not hear about it, until last week about the election -- why not? is he upset about our? megyn: that's right, does he have any issue with the attorney general being informed. then not relaying that information for another two months. i want to start back at the fiscal cliff issue. the reports are that the president is going to propose $1.6 trillion of increased taxes over the next decade. he is going to target corporations on the wealthy for that money. and that is double the amount that john boehner reportedly
offered him when they were trying to avoid the fiscal cliff last summer. one wonders whether, given that he just re-won the white house -- the president thinks he's in a better position to convince john boehner? reporter: well, it will be interesting to see. there has been talk that he might start on the campaign trail again. he might hold rallies after thanksgiving. saying that we need to war money from the people that make a higher income. this is back in august of 2011, part of the debt deal negotiations. that is what blew up those talks. the idea of 1.6 billion -- things will change. but as of right now, that would be an absolute nonstarter among senators on capitol hill. megyn: these republicans, many of them were reelected.
i am to say that they have a mandate from their constituents to keep doing what they have been doing. particularly in not raising taxes, which is such a thorny issue over the past few years. notwithstanding the fact that when you survey the majority of americans, they want to see taxes go up on the rich. the question is whether the republicans do and whether they will go in and start a meaningful negotiation if the starting point is $1.6 trillion in tax hikes. reporter: is this just a negotiating posture to move up from $800 billion or to get 800 billion again? or is this just a line in the sand? the president has said, and so have republicans, this is going to get ugly. it is going to get tense. think of labor negotiations. the week after christmas, as we get closer to the fiscal cliff kicking in on the first of the year, we could still be talking about these issues. the president has decided he will take out and draw a hard
line. we will have to wait and see. megyn: visiting the president yesterday and reportedly said after that, the fact, we don't social security tax, we don't want medicaid tax. before i let you go, mitt romney took a lot of criticism during the debate. he tried with candy crowley, he then avoided it like the third rail. the white house press corps is not as likely to back up of that issue today. it will be interesting to see the president go one-on-one with these reporters on an issue that he has had say very little about. >> there are so many questions that have never been answered like did you know there were warnings, including from the ambassador about the lack of security. these questions about the stories and the timeline
afterwards. there is a lot in a simple question. what did you know in august and were you aware that there were these records? a lot of music on these very key issues. megyn: and his white house spokesperson, no evidence that this attack was preplanned at a time when now we know the white house had been told something very different. there was plenty of evidence. we will watch and see. chris wallace, thank you, sir. we will see you on sunday. after this news conference today, there is a high-stakes meeting at the white house. he is hoping for support in trying to get support for his plan to raise taxes. mr. obama met with those groups yesterday and there was a question about what we will see after we are done with both groups. is this a fair and balanced debate?
is he speaking to both sides? is he open to being persuaded on what to do aut this fiscal cliff? lou dobbs ways than next. plus, the department of justice and it investigating the betray general petraeus affair. our guest and what the rules really say on handling this challenge remapped various countries and various groups around the world, the president had to be told that if eric holder didn't tell him, it was a duty in his bar. if you didn't tell anyone in the white white house, and they didn't act on it, but i was certainly an abdication of their responsibility [ mother ] you can't leave the table till you finish your vegetables. [ clock ticking ] [ male announcer ] there's a better way... v8 v-fusion. vegetable nutrition they need, fruit taste they love. could've had a v8. or...try kids boxes!
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a news conference in just moments with a statement about the so-called fiscal cliff. these are automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that will go into effect at the end of this year, if nothing else is done. today, later today, he will meet with business leaders and yesterday he met with mary kay henry of the sei you, the service workers union and richard trumka, head of the cio and justin ruben, the executive director of moveon, a political action group. we had our brain and do some digging and it looks like leaders have been spending a lot of time at the white house over the last four years. according to visitor records come they have made 552 visits since obama took office compared to just 172 business leader visits. joining me now is lou dobbs and the host of "lou dobbs tonight."
i was interested to hear charlie gasparino call this a farce. he thought this meeting was a farce because he said no small businesses are going to be there. the last time there was a meeting with a joss council, president obama went and read off of the teleprompter. lou: the fact that he is meeting with business representatives is an important process to continue. it hasn't had much effect to this point in the way in which he deals with business. i think that charlie has a point. small business should be represented here. these 12 ceos are going to be meeting with him after he speaks. it is such a small part of the economy. jobs are created by small business in this country. they should be represented here. the national federation of independent business, groups of small businessmen and women. they really make this country work. it is unfortunate that he would choose to work with people who represent such a small percentage of the economy. that is the union leaders.
we are talking about 12 or 15%, depending on how you calculate it, the entire workforce. small business creates jobs. it drives the economy. these are the folks, and this may play some part in the fact that they haven't been invited to today's soirée, they are the folks that will be paying those taxes that he is about to raise if he has his way. megyn: i mentioned a moment ago that the union leaders including richard trumka, supposedly they came out and said we don't want them touching medicare and in medicare and social security, they don't want any of these so-called entitlement programs to be adjusted. i'm not talking about people that are getting social security currently, but there had been a discussion from the deficit commission to raise the retirement age for people who are a little younger. lou: it's going to have to happen. megyn: they said no, that's a nonstarter. megyn: lou: they are going to talk straight. we are going to talk about tech
expenditures, we are talking about raising taxes. the boys and big girls talk straight. they are going to have to join our club whether they want to or not. we have a crisis at hand. it is going to have to be dealt with intelligently. you know, this is an unfortunate beginning. and he reminds me right now, and i hope i'm wrong about this, he reminds me of george w. bush when he bellied up to the 2004 election, talking about the political capital that he had made. i'm going to spend it. and he spent it on private social security accounts. we see a religious and every second term of every president. there are no exceptions in my career at my lifetime. this president started with a
very high bar. but i think he can exceed it and it looks like he may try. megyn: what is likely to happen? you know, there were tax hikes on the rich. the president obama once said he shouldn't that you shouldn't freeze taxes on anybody during a recession because it will -- it will stifle growth. now, we are technically not in a recession any longer. what is the argument against raising the taxes? lou: as you know, it's not a persuasive argument. if you're talking about those who are unemployed, who have given of employment, it is not a persuasive argument when he realized that if they don't come to terms on this fiscal cliff, which is becoming a cartoonish type of cliché, unfortunately, we are going to lose 2 million more jobs. megyn: what do they have to do? lou: they have to sit down and intelligently understand that we are moving to or 50 or of deficits.
$16 trillion in debt. it is unsustainable. this is about what is possible. politics is the art of the possible. these two parties, the pools are always more apparent -- they have driven us to the state that we are in. megyn: do you think think we need revenue increases? spending cuts? lou: we have to and the deaths. we have to pay down the mountain of debt. we are going to have to see increases in taxes, because there is no question about it. it is disingenuous of the best on the part of the democrats to suggest that they can get it from only wealthy people. they will not do so. it is disingenuous of the republicans to suggest that there should be no constraints in spending.
megyn: fox news alert as we await president obama's first postelection news conference. growing questions about why he was kept in the dark, according to the white house. he was not informed about the cia director scandal until last week. especially because we are told that eric holder and fbi director robert mueller began looking into the affair last summer. we are told that mr. eric holder was told in september about it. then they spend weeks on an
investigation that went so far as to open the cia director's e-mail, all without ever even mentioning it to the white house. joining me now is the former u.s. attorney general under george w. bush. there is an article in time magazine talking about you. about how you were the attorney general back in 2007. he wrote a memo that would have dissuaded or prohibited any contact between fbi justice and the white house when there is an ongoing criminal probe. you say that's nonsense. that's not what your mama said. >> that's correct. in fairness, "time" magazine, they got it right. but what the memo was meant to do and what it did was to stop contact in criminal investigation, ordinary investigation and restricted. it is permitted to have contact.
megyn: so when there is an fbi investigation of this sort going on, saying mr. president, you need to know something -- >> to go further, it says in consideration, anybody ought to be disclosing information to whoever needs to know it and just make sure that you keep the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and the associated attorney general in the loop so they can oversee any such communications be one a situation like this, it begins with some woman in florida saying that she's getting harassing e-mails for the fbi looked into it. they find the perpetrator. they look in her e-mail and she has something going on with the cia director. how did we get here? is there any chance that they say that as a personal matter? that's his business? we don't see any reason to believe that national security has been compromised? it's not for us to report to
anybody? >> i seriously doubt it. because the attorney general eventually anyway. megyn: anytime he said there is an ongoing investigation? did he leak something to this woman? is there more than meets the eye in a criminal probe? let's keep it quiet not tell the president to we have the answers to that? >> there is a chance of anything. is it reasonable for him to have done that? no, it is not. as soon as you find out that the director of the intelligence agency of the united states is having an affair with somebody and there are e-mails on gmail, which is accessible all over the world, that is a risk to the security of this country. you immediately want to disclose that. megyn: explain why. i am sure some want to know why that's not just a national personal security. >> it subjected him to enormous amount of pressure. according to current accounts,
he thought he could keep his job even when it was disclosed that this was under investigation. so it could conceivably be used to pressure him, to date his account of very things in benghazi. megyn: he was one of the first officials during that week after the 9/11 attacks to say this is about a video and there has been a lot of doubt cast on a. >> that is correct. i have heard one account that said it was about a video. he was somewhat equivocal as to whether that was actually what it was about or whether that was simply a lie about what it was about be one is the cia directors was to be an independent person? knock a hole into the administration we met. >> absolutely. they are there to gather intelligence and use it in a way that protects the united states. that is his only start.
megyn: what could eric holder have been thinking? remapped. >> either he told her he was aware that somebody at the white house didn't want to know. but the general procedure was you don't new don't tell things that we don't want the president to now. you know, somebody -- what i heard during the bin laden raid -- there was a suggestion that tom donovan didn't want the president watching the video. even though it didn't show the actual killing. even though it was simply focused on the helicopter. anyone who is focused in that way is acting in an atmosphere in which people don't want. megyn: if you accept the story that has been given thus far
that attorney general eric holder was told that the cia director had compromised himself in this way, and she did not tell the white house about it -- the president obama did not find out until two months later. is that something we need an explanation for? is does the president need to explain this to us? is there some failure to communicate that could come back to chavez? if this is the protocol remark yes, for the reasons i just described. he needs to protect the country. if it turns out that his chief director has been vulnerable, that is something you have to explain we want to tell me about the fbi to investigate and e-mails?
there has been pushed back on how you start, you know, looking into someone's personal e-mails. general petraeus' personal e-mail in the course of the investigation. you know, do they cross the line in some way? >> i think they were doing it at that point under the supervision of the u.s. service in tampa. there are statutes on how to conduct investigations like that. so a question about what your expectations are in connection with them. megyn: we have been given the two-minute warning. president obama president obama will come out to the microphones and the moment. he is expected to start the conference by talking about the tax hikes and spending cuts that are going to take effect at the end of the year. according to ed henry, wiki will have an hour of robust exchange afterwards were the reporters
get to ask the questions of the president. when you look at this petraeus affair, the whole scandal and so on, a lot of folks say it is a man who has a personal failing and he saved a lot of lives in iraq and he is the one who implemented the surge in the middle east to save american lives. not to mention, civilian lives. >> regrettably, yes. my mike hayden made this point over the weekend. the director of the cia exercises authority, not simply the way of military, because in not building there are a lot of things going on that he needs to know when we'll be told to him. he exercises authority by those in part of moral persuasion, not just command. if he loses that, then he loses the ability to lead. megyn: when you go into such a high post in government, having been the attorney general of the united states, when you take on
a roll like that, you will have a higher standard of conduct expected of you? >> when i became attorney general, my blackberry was taken away because it was felt that i shouldn't have it. because i could be put on notice of things or i could be saying something on e-mail. megyn: we go now to president obama in the east room of the white house. >> let me just make it do remarks at the top and then i will open it up. first welcome i would like to reiterate what i said on friday. right now, our economy is still recovering from a deep and damaging crisis. our top priority has to be jobs and growth. we have to build on the progress we have made. this nation succeeds only have a growing and thriving middle class. that is the idea of the plan i talked about over the last year on the campaign trail.
warding manufacturers and small businesses that create jobs here and not overseas. providing americans the chance to earn the skills that businesses are looking for right now. keeping this country at the forefront of research, technology and clean energy. putting people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and schools. and reducing our deficit and the balance in a responsible way. we face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs, taxes, and deficits by the end of the year. both parties voted to set this deadline. i believe that both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way. yesterday, i had a chance to meet with labor and civic leaders to meet about their input. today, i am meeting with ceos from america's largest companies. and i will meet with leaders of both parties of congress before the week is out. there is only one way to solve
the challenges, and that is to do it together. as i have said before, i am open to compromise, and i am open to ideas. i have been encouraged over the past week to hear republican after republican agree on the need for more revenue from the wealthiest americans as part of our arithmetic, if we are going to be serious about reducing the deficit. because when it comes to taxes, there are two pathways available. option one, if congress fails to act by the end of this year, everybody's taxes will automatically go up. including those who make less than $250,000 per year in the 90% of small businesses who earn less than $250,000 per year. that doesn't make sense. our economy can't afford that right now. certainly no middle-class family can afford that right now. nobody in either party says that they want it to happen. the other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the
first $250,000 of everybody's income. by the way, that means every american, including the wealthiest americans, they get a tax cut. it means that 90% of all americans and 97% of all businesses won't see their taxes go up a single dime. the senate has already passed a law like this. democrats in the house are house are ready to pass a law like this. i hope republicans in the house come on board, too. we should not hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. we should at least do what we agree on, and that is to keep middle-class taxes low. and i will bring everyone into sign it right away so we can get folks certainty before the holiday season. i won't pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy. but i am confident that we can do it, and i know that we have to. that is what the american people want us to do.
that was a very clear message of a letter that i received over the weekend. it came from the man in tennessee who began by writing this -- that he didn't vote for me. that is okay. but what he said was even though he did not give me his vote, he is giving me his support to move this country forward. he said the same to his republican representatives in washington. he said that he will back each of us, regardless of party, as long as we work together to make life better for all of us. he made it clear that if we don't make enough progress, he will be back in touch. so my hope is that we can make progress in light of personal and party principles we have to work together and put our differences aside. i cannot say it better myself.
that is precisely what i intend to do, and with that, let me open up for your questions. i will start off with ben feller of the associated press. >> can you assure that there have been no security breaches involving general john allen and general david petreaus. should you have been told that the cia chief is under investigation for the last week? president obama: i have no evidence at this point that classified information was disclosed that would have had a negative impact on our national security. obviously, there is an ongoing investigation. i don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. the fbi has its own protocol in terms of how they proceed.
i am going to let director -- director mueller make those calls. general petraeus had an extraordinary career. he served this country with great distinction in iraq, afghanistan, and as the head of the cia. by his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of the cia with respect to this personal matter that he is not dealing with with his family and with his wife. it is on that basis that he tendered his resignation and is on that basis that i accepted it. i would like to emphasize that from my perspective, at least, he has provided this country and
extraordinary service. we are safer because of the work that mr. petraeus has done. my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on. and i hope that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career. you know, again, i think you will have to talk to the fbi in terms of what their general protocols are when it comes to what started off as a potential criminal investigation. one of the challenges here is that we were not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations, and that has been our practice. you know, i think that there are certain procedures that the fbi follow and the doj follow when they are involved in these
investigations. that is traditionally how we do things. in part, because people are innocent until proven guilty. we want to make sure that we don't prejudge these kinds of situations. so my expectation is that they follow the protocols. >> mr. president, on the fiscal cliff, two years ago, sir, he said he would not extend the bush era tax cuts. but at the end of the day you die. respectfully, sir, why should the american people and the republicans believe that he won't cave again this time? president obama: two years ago the economy was in a different situation. we were still in the early parts of recovering from the worst economic crisis since the great depression. ultimately, we came together, not only to extend the bush tax cuts, but also a wide range of
policies that were going to be good for the economy at that point. unemployment insurance extensions, payroll tax extensions, all of which made a difference and is part of the reason why what we have seen is 32 consecutive months of job growth and over 5.5 million jobs created and the unemployment rate coming down. but what i said at the time, it is what i meant. this was a one-time proposition. what i have told leaders privately as well as publicly, is that we cannot afford to extend the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. what we can do is make sure that the middle-class taxes don't go up. so the most important step that we can take right now, i think the foundation for a deal that helps the economy and create
jobs, gives consumers the certainty -- which means gives them certainty that they will have consumers during the holiday season -- if we right away say that 98% of americans will not see taxes go up. 97% of small businesses will not see taxes go up. if we get that in place, we are actually removing half of the fiscal cliff. half of the danger to the economy is removed. what we can do then is shape a process whereby we look at tax reform, which i'm very eager to do. i think we can simplify our tax system. i think we can make it more efficient. we can eliminate loopholes and deductions that have a distorting effect on the economy. i believe that we have to continue to take a serious look at how we perform our entitlements. because health care costs continued to be the biggest driver of our deficits.
there is a package to be shaped. i am confident that folks have the goodwill in both parties to make that happen. what i am not going to do is to extend the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford, and according to economist, will have the least positive impact on ourconomy. >> you have said that the wealthiest must pay more. closing loopholes instead of raising rates satisfy you? president obama: there are loopholes that can be close. we should look at how we can make the process of the deductions in the filing process easier and simpler. but when it comes to the top 2%, but i'm not going to do is extend further a tax cut for
folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars. it is very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we are serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes and productions. the math tends not to work. i think it is important to establish a basic principle that was debated extensively on during the course of the campaign. this should not be a surprise to anyone. if there was one thing that everybody understood, was a big difference between myself and mr. mitt romney, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced and responsible approach. part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more. i think that every voter out there and understood that that was an important debate. the majority of voters agreed with me. either way, more voters agreed with me on this.
we have a clear program that we are going to be serious about deficit reduction, and we have to do it in a balanced way. the only question is are we going to pull the middle-class hostage in order to go ahead and let that happen? or can we all step back and say, here is something we agree on. we don't want the middle-class taxes to go up. let's go ahead and lock them in. that will be good for the economy. it will be good for consumers. it will be good for businesses. it takes the edge off the fiscal cliff. let's also then commit ourselves to the broader package of deficit reduction. that includes entitlement changes and it includes potential tax reform. as well as i am able to look at discretionary spending on that side. i want a big deal, a comprehensive deal area i want to see if we can, you know, at least for the foreseeable future, provide certainty to businesses and the american
people that we can focus on job growth. so that we are also investing in the things that we need. but right now i want to make sure of is the taxes on middle-class families don't go up. and there is a very easy way to do that. we could get it done by next week. >> thank you, mr. president. on immigration reform, the criticism in the past has been that you did not put forth legislation with specific ideas and sent it up to the hill. you have said that this will be one of the top priorities for a second term. will you then send legislation to the hill? exactly what do you envision is broad immigration reform? does that include a legalization program? also, what lessons, if any, the democrats have learned from this last election?
president obama: what was encouraging, incredibly encouraging, with a specific increase in latino turnout. they are the fastest growing group in the country. historically, what we have seen is the latino vote at lower rates than the broader population. that is beginning to change. you are starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation that will be powerful and good for the country. it is why i am confident that we can get immigration reform done. before the election, i had given a couple of interviews where i predicted that the latino vote would be strong. and that it would cause of some reflection on the part of republicans about their position on immigration reform. i think we are starting to see that already. i think that is a positive sign. this is not historically been a partisan issue.
we had president bush and john mccain and others who have supported comprehensive immigration reform in the past. we need to seize the moment. my expectation is that we get a bill introduced. and we began the process in congress, very soon after my inauguration. some conversations are already beginning to take place among senators and congressmen and my staff about what would this look like. when i say comprehensive immigration reform, it is very similar to the outlines of the previous comprehensive immigration reform. i think it should include a continuation of the strong border security measures that we have taken, because we have to secure our borders. i think it should contain serious penalties for companies that are purposely hiring. those that are hiring undocumented workers in taking advantage of them. i do think that there should be a pathway for leader status --
legal status for those not engaged in criminal activity simply to work. it is important for them to pay back taxes and learn english and it is important for them to pay a fine, but in order to give them the avenue, whereby they can resolve their legal status here in the country, it is very important. obviously, making sure that we put into law the first step we have taken and dealing with the dream act is very important as well. one thing i am clear about his young people who are brought here through no fault of their own, those who have gone to school here, who have pledged allegiance to our flag, those who want to serve in our military and contribute to our society -- they should not be under the cloud of deportation. we should give them every opportunity to earn their citizenship. there are other components to
it. the business community continues to be concerned about getting high skilled workers. i am a believer that if you have a phd in physics or computer science -- if you want to stay here and start a business here, we should not make it harder for them to stay here. we should try to encourage them to contribute to the society. i think that the agricultural sector has concerns about making sure that they have a work force that helps deliver food to our tables. there will be a bunch of components to it. but i think that whatever process we have, we need to make sure that border security is strong. it needs to deal with employers effectively. it needs to provide a pathway for the undocumented here. it needs to deal with the dream act kids. that is something we can get done. >> chuck todd?
>> mr. president, i would like to follow up on ben and jessica's question. are you withholding judgment on whether you should have known sooner that there was a potential investigation into whether your cia director -- potentially there was a national security breach with your cia director. do you believe you should of known sooner? are you withholding judgment until the investigation is complete? and the follow up to jessica's question, tax rates. is there no deal at the end of the year that tax rates for the top 2% want the clinton tax rates? period. know is, hands, or butts. on that specific aspect of the fiscal cliff. president obama: i am withholding judgment. with respect to how the entire process surrounding general
petraeus came out. we don't have all the information yet. but i want to say that i have a lot of confidence generally in the fbi and they have a difficult job. what i will tell you is that it is also possible that had we have been told, we would be interfering in a criminal investigation. so i think it is best right now for us to just see how this whole process is unfolding. with respect to the tax rates, i just want to emphasize that i am open to new ideas. the republican counterparts are some democrats have a great idea for raising revenue, maintaining
progress and making sure the middle-class is not getting hits, reduces our deficit and encourages growth, i am not just going to slam the door in her face. i want to hear their ideas. i want to hear ideas from everybody. look, i believe this is solvable. i think that fair-minded people should come to an agreement and can come to an agreement that does not cause the economy to go back into recession that protects middle-class families and focuses on jobs and growth and reduces our deficit. i'm confident that it can be done. my budget doesn't. i don't expect the republicans to adopt my budget. that is not realistic. i recognize that we will have to compromise. on election night, compromise is hard. not everybody gets 100% of what
they want, and not everyone will be perfectly happy. but what i will not do, i will not have a process that is vague, that says we are going to sort of, kind of, raise revenue and do dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified. the reason i won't do that is because i don't want to find ourselves in position six a position six months from now or a year from now where, lo and behold, the only way to close the deficit is to stop -- socket to middle-class families. where they have a parent in a nursing home or middle-class families that suddenly have to cut more out of the basic budget that is the key to growing the economy in the long term. that is my concern. i am less concerned about red
lines, per se. what i am concerned about not finding ourselves in the situation. where the wealthy are not paying more or aren't paying as much as they should. middle-class family, one way or another are making up the difference. that is the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long. that is exactly what i argued against during this campaign. if there is one thing that i am pretty confident about, the american people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another four years. they want compromise. they want action. but they also want to make sure that middle-class folks aren't bearing the entire burden and sacrifice when it comes to some of these big challenges. they expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share as well, and that will be my guiding principle. my guiding principle during these negotiations, and during the next four years of my
administration. >> mr. president, on election night, you said that you were looking forward to speaking with governor romney sitting down in the coming weeks to discuss ways that you could work together on this nation's problems. have you extended the invitation, has he accepted, and in what ways do you think you can work together? president obama: we haven't scheduled anything yet. i think everybody forgets the election was only a week ago. i for i have forgotten. i forgot wednesday. so -- i think everybody needs to catch their breath. i'm sure governor romney is spending some time with his family. and my hope is before the even of the year we have a chance to talk. there are certain aspects of governor romney's record and his ideas that i think could be very helpful. and to give one example, i do
think he did a terrific job running the olympics. and, you know, that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better apply to the federal government. there are a lot of ideas i doesn't think are partisan ideas but are just smart ideas about how can we make the federal government more customer-friendly. how can we make sure that we are consolidating programs that are duplicates. he presents some ideas during the campaign that it agree with. so it would be interesting to talk to him about that. there may be ideas he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle class families. i'm not either prejudging what
he's interested in doing, nor am i suggesting i have got to specific assignment. but way want to do is get ideas from him and see if there is some ways we can potentially work together. >> one of the most frequent criticisms we have heard from members on both sides is you haven't done enough to reach out and build relationships. are there concrete ways you plan to approach your relationship with congress in a second term? >> i think there is no doubt i can always do better. so i will, you know, examine ways that i can make sure to communicate my desire to work with everybody. so long as it's advancing the cause much strengthening our middle class and improving our economy. i have gone the a lot of good relationships with people in the house and senate. i have a lot of relationships on
both sides of the aisle. it hasn't always manifested itself in the kind of agreements that it would like to see. i don't exempt myself from need to go do some self-reflection and see if i can improve our working relationship. there will be some sharp differences. there will be times when there are fights and i think those are fights that need to be had. what the american people don't want to see is a focus on the next election instead of a focus on them. michelle and i were talking about what an incredible honor and pivot is to be put in this
position. millions of folks who worked so hard to help us get elected. there are millions of people who may not have voted on us and are count on us. i take that responsibility very seriously and i hope and intend to be an even better president in the second term than the first term. jonathon? >> senator john mccain and senator lindsey graham said they want watergate-style hearings on the attack on the consulate in benghazi and if you nominate susan rice as secretary of state they will do everything they can to block the nomination. he says he simply doesn't trust
her. >> i won't comment at this point on various nominations that i'll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term. those are things that are being discussed. but let me say specifically about susan rice. she has done exemplary work. she has represented the united states and our interests in the united nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. as i said before, she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator tbram and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.
i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she received, and besmir much her reputation is outrageous. and, you know, after an election now, i think it is important for to us find out exactly what happened in benghazi and i'm happy to cooperate in any ways that congress wants. we have provided every bit of information that we have. and we'll continue to provide information and we have got a full-blown investigation. and all that information will be disclosed to congress. but i don't think there is any debate in this country that when you have four americans killed, that's a problem.
we have got to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability. we have to bring those who carried it out to justice. they won't get any debate from me on that. when they go after the u.n. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they have got a problem with me. and should i choose, if i think she would be the best person to serve america, in the state department, then i'll nominate her. that's not a determination i have made yet. ed henry. >> i want to ask a small followup on whether you think you have a mandate on not just taxes but a range of issues.
by want to stay on benghazi because said if they want to come after me, come after me. the families of these four americans killed. sean's father ray says he believes his son basically called 911 for help and didn't get. i know you say you grieve for these americans and it's being investigated. the families have been waiting for two months. i would like to you address the families as you can. on 9/11 as commander in chief did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives? >> i'll address the families not through the press, i'll address the families directly as i already have. and we'll provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. that's what the investigation is for. but as i said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure
that we saved the lives of folks who i sent there and who who were carrying out miss for the united states then you don't know how our defense department thinks or our state department thinks or our cia thinks. their number one priority is to protect americans lives. that's what our job is. i'll put forward -- i'll put forward every bit of information that we have. i can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they are safe. and that's the same order i would give any time that i see americans are in danger whether they are civilian or military because that's our number one priority. with respect to the issue of mandate, i have got one mandate.
i have got a mandate to help middle class families and families that are working hard to get in the middle class. that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said work really hard to help us. don't worry about the politics of it. don't worry about the party interests, don't worry about the special interests, just work really hard to see if you can help us get ahead because we are working really hard out here and still struggling a lot of us. that's my mandate. i don't presume that because i won an election that everybody suddenly degrees with me on everything. i'm more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. we are very cautious about that. on the other hand, i didn't get reelected just to bask in reelection. i got elected to do work on
behalf of american families and small businesses across the country who are still recovering from a really bad recession. but are hopeful about the future. i am, too. the one thing that i said during the campaign that maybe sounds like a bunch of campaign rhetoric. but now that the campaign is over i'll repeat it and hopefully you guys will believe me. when you travel around the country you are inspired by the grit and resilience and hard work and decency of the american people. it just makes you want to work harder. you meet families who are -- who have overcome tough odds. somehow are making it and sending their kids to college, and you meet young people who are doing incredible work and disadvantaged communities because they believe in, you
know, the american ideal and it should be available for everybody. and you meet farmers who are helping each other during times of drought. you meet businesses that kept their doors open during recession even those owner didn't have to take a sal ray. when you talk to these folks you say, they deserve a better government than they have been getting. they deserve awful us here in washington to be thinking every single day how can i make things a little better for them? which isn't to say that everything we do is going to be perfect or there aren't going to be big, tough challenges that we have to grapple with. but i do know that the federal government can make a difference. we are seeing it right now on the jersey coast and in new york. people are still going through a tough time. the response hasn't been perfect, by it's been
aggressive, and strong and fast and robust and a lot of people have been helped because of it. that's a pretty good metaphor for how i want the government to operate generally and i'll do what toik make sure it does. christy. >> thank you, mr. president, and congratulations. >> christy was there when i was running for state senate. >> i was. i have never seen you lose. i wasn't looking that one time. >> there you go. one quick followup, thin want to ask you about iran. i just want to make sure i understood what you said. can you envision any scenario in which we do go off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year and on iran are you preparing a final diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear program issue and are we headed towards one-on-one
talks? >> we can all imagine a scenario where we go off the fiscal cliff if despite the election, if despite the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff and what that means for our economy, that there is too much stubbornness in congress that we can't even agree on giving middle class families a tax cut, then middle class families are going to end up having a big tax hike and that will and route shock for them and i suspect we'll have a big impact on the holiday shopping season which in turn will impact business planning and hiring and we can go back into a rescission. -- back into a recession. it is not necessary. i want to repeat. step number one that we can take in the next couple weeks provide
certainty to middle class families, 98% of family hospital make less than $250,000 a year, 97% of small businesses that their taxes will not go up a single dime. give them that certainty right now. we can get that done. we can then set up a structure where we are dealing with tax reform, closing loopholes. dealing with entitlements and i'm willing to make big commitments to make sure we are locking in the kind of deficit reductions that stabilize our deficit. start bringing it down. start bringing down our debt. i'm confident we can do it. and look i have been living with this for a couple years now. i know the math pretty well. and it's really arithmetic. it's not calculus. there are some tough things that have to be done.
but there is a way of doing this that does not hurt middle class families, does not certain our seniors, doesn't hurt families with disabled kids. allows us to continue to invest in those things that make us grow like basic research and education helping young people before going to college. as we heard from some republican commentators. a modest tax increase on the wealthy will not break their backs. they will still be wealthy. and it will not impinge on business investment. so we know how to do this. this is a matter of whether we come together and say democrats and republicans, we are both going to hold hands and do what's right for the american people. i hope that's what happens. with respect to iran, i have much want to see a diplomatic resolution to the problem. i was very clear before the
campaigns, i was clear during the campaign and i'm now clear after the campaign. we are not going to let iran get a nuclear weapon. but i think there is still a window of time for us to resolve this dip thattically. we imposed the toughest sanctions in history. it's having an impact on iran's economy. there should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while meeting their international obligations and providing clear assures for the international community that they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. so i'll try to make a usual in the coming months to see if we can open up and dialogue between iran and not just us but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved. i can't promise that iran will walk through the door they need to walk through. but that would be have much the preferable option.
i don't talk about the details of negotiations. but it's fair to say that we want to get this resolved and we are not going to be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols. if iran is serious about wants to go resolve this they will be in a position to resolve sit. >> just prior to the election there was talk that talks might be imminent. >> that was not true. it's not true as of today. okay? just going to knock through a couple other. mark landers. where is mark. right in front. >> thank you, mr. president. in his endorsement of you a few weeks ago mayor bloomberg said he was motivated by the belief that you would do more to confront the threat of climate change than your oh point. your -- than your opponent. tomorrow you are going up to new york city where you will see
people suffering from the effects of hurricane sandy. people say it's further evidence of how a warming globe is change our weather. what do you plan to do in a second term to tackle the issue of climate change and do you think the political will exists in washington to pass legislation that could include some kind of a tax on carbon? >> as you know, mark, we can't attribute any particular weather event to climate change. what we do know is the temperature around the globes increasing. faster than was predicted even 10 years ago. we do know the arctic ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago. we do know that there have been extraordinarily -- there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events
here in north america but also around the globe. and i am a firm believer that climate change is real. it's impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions, and as a consequence i think we have an obligation to future generations to do something about it. in my first term we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. that will have an impact. that will take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. we doubled the production of clean energy which promises to reduce the utilization of fossil fuels for power generation. and we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies that could further remove carbon from our atmosphere. but we haven't done as much as we need to. so what i'm going to be doing over the next several weeks,
next several months, is having a conversation, a wide ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what more can we do to make it short-term progress in reducing carbons. and then working through an education process that i think is a necessary discussion, a conversation across the country about what realistically we can do long term to make sure this is not something we are passing on to future generations that will be very expensive and very painful to deal with. i don't know what either democrats or republicans are prepared to do at this point. because this one of those issues that's not just a partisan
issue. i think there are regional differences. there is no doubt for us to take on climate change in a serious way, it would involve making some tough political choices. and, you know, understandably i think the american people have been so focused on our economy and jobs and growth that if the message is somehow we are going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change i don't think anybody is going to go for that. i won't go for that. but if we can shape an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth, and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader i think that's something the american people would support. you can expect that you will hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we
can shape an sea general today that garners bipartisan support and helps moves this agenda forward. >> [inaudible] >> that i'm pretty certain of. we are still trying to debate whether we can make sure middle class families don't get a tax hike. let's see if we can resolve that. that should be easy. this one is hard. but it's important. because one of the things we don't always factor in are the costs involved in these natural disasters. we just put them off as something that's unconnected to our behavior right now, and i think based on the evidence we are seeing, what we do now will have an impact and cost down the road if we don'tng about it. all right. last question.
mark? >> thank you, mr. president. the assad regime is engaged in a brutal crackdown on its people. france recognized the opposition coalition. what will it take for the united states to do the the same and is there any point at which the united states would consider arming the rebels? >> i was one of the first leaders around the world to say assad had to go in response to the incredible brutality that his government displays in face of what were initially peaceful protests. obviously the situation in syria has deteriorated since then. we have been extensively engaged with the international community as well as regional powers to help the opposition. we committed hundreds of millions in humanitarian aid to help folks inside and outside of
syria. we are constantly consulting with the opposition on how they can get organized so that they are not palestinian toward and divide in the face of the onslaught from the assad regime. we are in very close contact with countries like turkey and jordan that immediately border syria and impact israel which is having already grave concerns about, for example, movements of chemical weapons that might occur in such a chaotic atmosphere. they could have an impact not just within syria but on the region as a whole. i'm encouraged to see the syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion than they have had in the past. we'll be talking with them.
my even voice will be traveling to the -- my envoys will be traveling to meet with them. we consider them as the aspirations of the syrian people. one of the options we'll continue to press is making sure that opposition is committed to a democratic syria, an inclusive syria, a moderate syria. we have seen extremist element insinuate themselves into the opposition. and one of the things we have to be on guard about particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures, is that we are not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do americans harm or do israelis harm or
otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security. we are constantly broke and work on that issue. the more engaged we are, the more we'll be in a position to make sure that we are encouraging the most moderate. thoughtful elements of the opposition that are committed to inclusion, observance of human rights and working cooperatively with us over the long term. thank you very much. >> [inaudible] >> that was a great question but it would be a horrible precedent for me to answer your question just because you yelled it out. so thank you very much. guys.
megyn: the man has a point. you heard president obama speaking in his first press conference in 8 months. under an hour and taking a total of 8 questions. on a variety of issues. i want to cut through a couple of them, then we'll make news here. on the fiscal cliff, saying he wants a big conclusive deal. he will take a look at entitlements by's not going to do knowing protect the wealthiest 2% of individuals and 3% of businesses. on general petraeus he says from what he has seen no classified information was shared. he says you would have to talk to the fbi about protocols. and he made the point we are not supposed to meddle in a criminal investigation. you heard the former attorney general saying that rule doesn't
apply when you are talking about a situation like this. finally, benghazi. a couple of important items. number one, you heard ed henry asking about what his message to the families who feel like their sons were abandoned. they had called 911 and no help came. the president said immediately upon finding out what was happening i told my national security team do whatever we need to do to make sure they are safe. and then speaking about susan rice. the u.n. ambassador at the center of what we now know was incorrect information that was shared repeatedly to the american public about this being about a video and the president taking her defense saying if lawmakers want to go after someone go after me. he said but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi is outrageous. joining me now, one of the leading voices demanding answers from this white house about what
happened in benghazi and why. new hampshire senator kelly ayotte. >> we have called senator graham, for the assistant of a select committee to make showers we can get to the bottom of what happened in benghazi. what we see happening in the senate is multiple committees going forward. there are more questions than answers. inconsistent answers from the various agencies including the state department and the d.o.d. we need to get to the bottom of this. my hope is we'll establish this select committee to answer these questions. with wee respect to what the president said on susan rice. he said she went to every major network on behalf of the white house. that begs the question. we know based on e-mails that
went to the white house that within hours they knew that a terroristup ansar al-sharia was claiming responsibility. so if she went to the networks on behalf of the white house. there are questions about why the white house would leave that misimpression to the american people when there was information immediately within hours that this appeared to be a terrorist attack. megyn: that was the first i heard that it was their marching orders she went out on those sunday talk shows and said benghazi was all about a video. it had been speculated that the u.n. ambassador doesn't do that. let's listen to that exchange. >> i wanted to ask about the families of these four americans who were killed. sean smith's father said he believes his son basically called 911 for help and they didn't get' i know you said you
grieve for these four americans, that it's being investigated. but the families have been waiting for more than two months. i would like for you to address the families if you can. on 9/11 as commander-in-chief tid you issue any orders to pry to protect their lives? >> ed, you know, i'll address the families not through the press, i'll address the families directly as i already have. and we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. that's what the investigation is for. but as i said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks i sent there, and who were carrying out miss on behalf of the united states, then you don't know how our defense department thinks or our state department thinks or our cia
thinks. their number one priority is to protect american lives. that what's our job is. megyn: that was the president speaking specifically about what happened in the wake of the benghazi attack and saying he told the national security team immediately do what you need to do to make sure they are safe. your thoughts. >> that raises even more questions. this attack occurred apparently over 7 hours. so why wasn't the best military in the world able to respond in that period. there are so many questions about the requests for assistance. were they denied and why. why weren't we able to respond to the attack in a way that would have protected those individuals who were there. those brave americans. this raises more questions. that's why it's so important we get to the bottom of this through a bipartisan select committee. we have seen the stove piping that different agencies are giving different answers. we need to know what happened. we need to know why it was misrepresented by ambassador
rice apparently on behalf of the white house what is we learned today. i think the american people need answers when we have four brave americans that have been killed by a terrorist attack. megyn: the other item where he says it was whites house who told her to go out. he said that if senators mccain and graham want to go after someone web said go after me. now presuming he means you as well because you were with them this morning when you called for this select committee which is a group -- it covers a few different committees and you get top leaders together and they work together to get to the bottom of something. it happened after water grate and iran can extra and 9/11. he says if they want 0 go after somebody, come after me. your fellow senator lindsay graham sent out a message moments sea go in response to that and said, mr. president, don't think for one minute i don't hold you ultimately
responsible for benghazi. i think you failed as commander-in-chief before, during and after the attack. do you agree with senator graham? >> i agreet president is the commander-in-chief and he has the responsibility for the safety and security of the american people here and abroad. so absolutely. we have written half a dozen letters to the white house and administration. it's important -- what did the president know about the prior oh tacks on the consulate. obviously if he was not informed we have short comings in our intelligence and what they are briefing the president on. we don't want this to happen again. i think those families deserve an answer as do the american people as a whole. megyn: it's interesting the stove piping. you are getting the information from one group. another from the department of defense and another from the
cia. senatoro senator, thank you for being here with your thoughts. joining knee now kirsten powers. so glad we have you. i want to pick up where the senator and i left off and play the sound bite from the president talking about susan rice and the white house's role in what she said. >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received and to b besmirch her reputation is outrageous.
he said as i said before she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intel that had been provided to her. your thoughts. >> you picked up in your previous interview on one of the most important parts of what he said which is admitting that the white house is the one who told her what to say and this did come from the white house which has mostly been speculated upon. also i have to ask if she don't know anything about benghazi why was she the face put out by the administration and put on five shows to speak about benghazi. that doesn't make sense. i do think that it's true that this is not susan rice's fault. there is a lot of focus on susan rice. he basically just told us what happened. they sent susan rice, someone who has nothing to do with benghazi out to speak on benghazi. she did what she was asked to do. i have tbhorkd an administration
before. if your boss asks to you do something you do it. it's unfair to say she intentionally misled people, i don't know that there is evidence that she did that. but the reason that there is so much focus on her is because the president chose to send her out there. there. megyn: he sounds like he wanted to be her champion. but the reason she is taking incoming fire is because according to president obama he told her to. he iter in the line of fire. >> exactly. this idea they are going after her because she is a quote easy target. i don't even know what she is talking about. she is the u.n. ambassador sent out to speak to the american people about this issue. that's why they are focused on her. it's interesting you point out in the last interview, you portrayed it like two men beating up on a woman. left out senator ayotte.
and made it seem like he was coming to her defense. very paternalistic. how dare they go after her. she is the u.n. ambassador. she is capable ofabling this. if you were going to nominate this woman we are not saying he is, but if he nominated her as secretary of state of course she'll be asked questions about this. megyn: he raids a question by his comments, what was susan rice doing on those sunday talk shows in the first place. so many people said where was the director of national intelligence with where was david petraeus. where were our top intel official? why did they send her or secretary of state hillary clinton. why did they send susan rice out. >> that's get everyone was asking on that sunday when susan rice was doing this.
where is hillary clinton. why is she not here? i asked her press aide about this and he said she doesn't do the sunday shows a lot. there were strange excuses which didn't sound quite right. but now they really don't sound right after the president just said she had nothing to do with benghazi. megyn: now we know the president told her to go out there. at the same time jay carney has told us before that in the first week or so he was telling us they had no evidence this was preplanned attack. that's what he claimed. that is the white house line. but it's clearly at conflict with the information we received from several different afters now that they did know that there was good reason to believe this was a terrorist attack. ansar al-sharia had made threats. the hospital was surround where the ambassador's body was.
>> you know they couldn't go get the ambassador's body because the hospital was surround by people from ansar al-sharia, you know that this was not an attack over a video. it's basic information that they had. and now i think what the president's statements -- the other web set up such a strawman. don't go after the susan rice, come after me. everyone has been trying to talk to you about this. everyone has been trying to ask you questions and you keep saying you can't talk about it because there is an investigation going on. pretending people are going after susan rice because they think she is an easy target when people would be happy to talk to the president about this. megyn: there is a question about why we haven't heard from her since. if for no other reason than to say i said way was told to say. you will have to take it up with
my boss. she has been in the wind nine weeks after the fact. can you stand by? we were going to have you talk about the economy. and the fiscal cliff. and we still want to use you for that. so stand by. the president fresh off of his news conference preparing for this meeting with business leaders. he wants to push his noon avert the fiscal cliff by raising taxes on the wealthy. the last meeting with executives did not go so well. what is different this time snawr we'll have our panel including kristen back after the break. sso this reduced sodium soup says it mahelp lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just he to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy oh, let me guess --ou see this? more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late. megyn: a fox news alert. there is a lot of nice that has been made. you saw our chief white house correspondent ed henry. there were eight questions and ed you got to the matter of
benghazi, libya and did another correspondents and specifically what the president did. what did he do to protect those who were under fire who were requesting backup and permission to help the ambassador. your thoughts on his answer. >> reporter: the bottom line is i went into wanting to ask the president directly about his role because so much has been said. i thought it was important to ask the president what he did specifically because the families have come forward to say they feel like these four americans were there left to die. since the president has nod had a news con prints was an opportunity for him to respond. it was significant that the president pushed back and said generally as commander-in-chief he would do everything in his power to protect those four americans or any americans he puts in harm's way. but when i pressed him specifically on we did on 9/11
of this year he did not special out whether he issued any orders, specific orders to save those four americans. that is something no doubt. megyn: stands by because we have it. let's play it. >> i wanted to ask about the families of these four americans that were killed. sean smith's father ray says he believes his son called 911 for help and they didn't get it. i know you said i grieved for these four americans but the families have been waiting for more than two months. if i would like for you to address the families if you can. on 9/11 as commander in chief did you issue any orders to pry and protect their lives? >> i'll adress families not through the press, i'll address the families directly as i already have. and we'll provide all the information that is available
about what happened on that day. that's what the investigation is for. but as i said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who i sent there, and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the united states, then you don't know how our defense department thinks or our state department thinks or cia thinks. their number one priority is to protect american lives. megyn: he went on to say he told the national security team to do whatever they need to do to make sure that they are safe. >> reporter: right. but what specifically beyond that general order. what steps did he take or not take. that's an answer we still do not have at this hour. it's clear republicans on capitol hill will be pushing in the days ahead to get that answer. you have senator ayotte and
graham saying they want to see a special committee put together to have one panel look at all this. they will look at this. megyn: before i let you go, your thoughts on now the explicit admission from the president that it was the white house that told susan rice to go throughout and say what she said on that sunday talk show round. >> reporter: i think it's significant, on one hand it's not surprising. whenever a top official goes on the sunday talk shows they are being put out there by the white house. but the president getting behind her specifically tells us he's not backing down from what she said and it does not sounds like this president is backing dprownt likelihood that he's going to name susan rice to be the next secretary of state to replace hillary clinton who said she'll be stepping down. you heard senators mccain and graham say they will filibuster that nomination. it sounded to me in that news conference as a president
spoiling for this fight. this issue will be front and center if he puts susan rice forward to be secretary of state. megyn: he said if i want to nominate her, i will. president obama scheduled to meet with business leaders. busy day at the white house, to talk about budget cuts and tax hikes. it's part of his plan to help avoid the fiscal cliff. but we got reports on two different studies, one by ernst and young and the conscious at budget office that predicted raising tax rates even on the wealthy will hurt the economy. charles payne and simon constable. author of the the "wall street journal" guide to the 50 economic indicators that matter. charlesing with who put that together, a bunch of rich people who don't want to get taxed? >> realistically.
i think the question is, a lot of people will resign themselves to the fact that taxes will go up. but the question is how do you define rich. this is where i have a problem. $250,000 is not real definition of rich and that's not where the average american family who gets to that point should be punished for the work they put in. the president continues to dismiss small businesses saying only 3% are going to be hit with this. that's the 3% that generates 50% of the profits, 40% of the job creation. companies of less than 50 employees generated 700,000 jobs. it's dangerous to go after those people. maybe if they moved the bar higher we could get to that compromise. megyn: the president isn't self-destructive. the chances of his party -- if he believes those 3% of businesses that create 40% of the jobs will take a serious hit
and start firing people if he raises their tax will he do it? he's got to believe it to not do it. there are a lot of views some people don't believe a small what is considered to be a small increase in taxes will hurt job creation. i think it will and the people i talk to think it will. if you increase the rate of tax, that changes how you decide whether to invest in a new plant, a new factory, something like that. it makes a big difference even if your company never paid taxes in last 10 years. if the tax rate is different you are forced to use whatever that tax rate is when you project those profits. that could be the difference between a factory that works and is built or one that isn't. i know that sounds strange but that's just the what it is. megyn: some republicans are saying maybe we'll eliminate loopholes but don't increase the rates.
i'll talk to you about how much your tax are going up if you are middle class if we go off this fiscal cliff. i'll leave you this to ponder. did kirsten and i plan this? we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] it's that time of year again. medicare open enrollment. time to compare plans and costs. you don't have to make changes. but it never hurts to see if you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law.
megyn: apparently the rates for the middle class if we go off the fiscal cliff, if you make between $70,000 to $120,000 you will go to 28%. if you are rich over $250,000 you will go from 32% to 39.6%. president obama said that's what you paid under president clinton. >> that the basic argument. this is the tax rate we had before. the economy kido did well under it. what you brought up before was the point i was going to make.
barack obama has no interest in destroying the u.s. economy. he does not believe that raising tax rates on people making more than $250,000 will harm the economy. i tend to agree with him. i do think on the small business issue it's possible maybe that they would reach some sort of deal. maybe there could be carve out for the businesses that make over $250,000. right now everyone is in their corners and starting points and they are starting to negotiate. we don't know who is going to give on what. megyn: the more they coffer out the less meaning -- the more they carve out, the less meaningful it will be. what is the argument for not taking us back to the tax rates we had under president clinton? >> you would have to go back and say under clinton a lot of things were sacrificed that this president wouldn't want to
sacrifice. people will say clinton gut the military and he had a stock market bubble. here is the thing. investments are snroag this country dramatically. this is what we need to spur. you can dismantle what we built and say divvy it up. but that doesn't spur the future. >> people are strapped for cash already, especially in the middle class. you tax them more they will be more strapped and spend less. it will hurt small businesses. >> potentially loves jobs if you pinch the rich, if you believe that's what's going to happen. what a mess. glad it's somebody else's problem oh, wait, no, it isn't. thank you also much. we'll be right back. pe. just can't fit 'ein my budget.
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